On CNN‘s website, Alex de Waal argues that Sudan and South Sudan’s long term needs are being held hostage to short term calculations.
Eighteen months after the secession of South Sudan, its future is still tied to its northern neighbor and former mother country. In 2013, Sudan and South Sudan will rise or fall together. If the two can overcome their rancor and work together, both can be economically viable and rebound from their respective economic crises. If not, both countries may become ungovernable.
At a summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on September 27, 2012, South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and his Sudanese counterpart Omar al-Bashir signed a series of agreements to resolve the outstanding business left over from the secession, to settle the disputes that had brought them to the brink of all-out-war in April, and to reopen South Sudan’s oil production – source of 82 percent of its GDP. But they haven’t been implemented yet.
One pillar of the agreements is economics: South Sudan resumes export of its oil using the infrastructure (oil pipeline and terminal) in northern Sudan, with a transitional payment to the government in Khartoum to help cushion it from the fiscal shock that followed the loss of 75 percent of its oil production when South Sudan seceded. The two countries also agreed a joint approach to international donors for debt relief and development aid. Sudan is under financial sanctions while South Sudan’s economy, already one of the poorest in the world, shrank by more than half after its shutdown of oil production in January 2012, in a dispute with the north.
The second pillar is security: a demilitarized and internationally monitored border and an end to supporting rebels fighting against the other. South Sudanese are particularly frustrated about the north repeatedly stalling on agreements to allow the people of Abyei Area, which lies on the border, to vote in a referendum to decide whether they belong north or south. The northerners accuse the southern army of harboring and supplying a range of rebellions ongoing inside northern Sudan. …
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